Wednesday, July 26, 2006

They Didn't Have The Beatles


There is no shortage of words written about The Beatles. Books, magazine articles, more books, dissertations, graffiti, quotes in high school yearbooks. I have nothing new to add, but this is a blog. My blog, and over the years I’ve realized that The Beatles have had an incalculable influence on my life. My childhood memories are forever intertwined with The Beatles’ music, their words, movies, pictures, and their ideas. In my college years into my 20’s, whenever I’d have some sort of kerfuffle with someone who was 15 or more years my senior, I’d say, “Ah, they didn’t have The Beatles – that’s why they are the way they are.” Of course I was wrong, because now those who are running the show and ruining everything did have The Beatles – but this isn’t that kind of post.

When I meet a musician who tells me “I hate The Beatles,” it’s over. O-ver. When I have a friend who tells me "I hate / I don’t like The Beatles" their opinions about music become irrelevant, (and with one exception) I usually can’t be good friends with them. Probably irrational, but I can't help it. It is a chemical reaction that I can't get past.

My very first conversation with The Viscountess turned to music. It turned out that she loved The Beatles, Steely Dan and XTC just like me. When she said, “ (XTC’s) ‘English Settlement’ is one of my favorite albums,” she had me. If she had said, “The Beatles? I can’t believe you like them. I like Journey” it would have been over in that one second.

Anyway - I decided to come up with this list. Might be different tomorrow, today it is this:

Favorite Beatle: John Lennon
Favorite Side*: You Never Give Me Your Money
Favorite Album: Abbey Road
Second Favorite Album: Rubber Soul – American Version
Not My Favorite Like Everyone Else's On The Internet But Still Love It: Revolver
*Note: "Side" in this context means "record" or "recording" as opposed to "song."

Favorite Paul Songs:
Paperback Writer
Getting Better
Martha My Dear
All My Loving
Eleanor Rigby (with a little help on the last verse from John,)
Hello Goodbye
Golden Slumbers

Favorite John Songs:
She Said She Said
Dear Prudence
Yer Blues
Norweigan Wood
Tell Me Why
I Want You
Help
It Won’t Be Long
I Am The Walrus

Favorite George Songs:
Here Comes The Sun
Don’t Bother Me
Think For Yourself
Favorite Cover Song:
Please Mr. Postman (John's vocal performance is amazing on that one!)

Favorite Song That Never Gets Played on the Radio: When I Get Home

Favorite Lyric: Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna
I once closed a resignation letter with that quote when I made the letter public via an e-mail blast. They brought in this textbook AssClown in to "fix" what was not broken and he broke everything. He pretended to elightenment but in reality he was a buffoon. I probably should have quoted "Bodhisattva" but at the time it was the Lennon lyric that came to mind.

The One Song That Defines Who They Were: We Can Work It Out

Yeah, “We Can Work It Out.” If someone comes knockin’ from another planet and they only got time for one, that’s the one I play. Started out as two separate songs, one Paul’s, the other John’s. Paul the optimist and John the cynic. Great singing and harmonies. A little 3/4 time change (or quarter-note triplets - I never got the difference down - I count it 1-2-3 1-2-3) at the end of the phrases of the middle eight. Some understated accordian that adds warmth instead of comedy. How'd they do that?

"We Can Work It Out" is the definition of synergy. Shove that one in the [face] of one those “Relative Objectivist Ayn Rand Disciples” when they start going off on Howard Roarke.

I was there – young – but there. Just getting out of Zen and into Maya. That age. That song was once a new song – a new Beatle record as we called it – on the radio.

So long ago.

I feel privileged to have been alive when it was happening.

I’ve included takes 1 and 2. Take 1 is instrumental. For me it was a revelation to hear it in that form. I can't define what is special about it - some won't understand. Take two is a complete version, but it isn't really clean, so I've also included the final mono mix as well.

From the moment Paul starts singing on 1and (correct me if I'm wrong MT, Ned or Bobby) at the top of the final mix, the record just takes over the room. Pure magic.

The List (cont.)

Crazy opinions that piss off other Beatle fans sometimes:

Billy Preston's playing on "Get Back" detracts from the song.
(Beebadeep beep ba beeep beeep badeeba beep!)

Paul's Vocal performance on "Oh! Darling" is over-the-top.
He should have let John sing it even though Paul wrote it.

"Here, There and Everywhere" is not one of their best songs.
It is lame.

"Mr. Moonlight" is awesome!
It is.

Worst Thing They Ever Did:
Invite "The Anti-Lennon" (Jeff Lynne) to come in and produce, sing and play with them on the "new" songs they recorded in the 90's.




15 Comments:

Anonymous Gray Lensman said...

I was in my first year of teaching 7th grade in Texas when the Beatles hit America in '64. I was 22. I teased the girls about the pictures of the Fab Four on their book covers. By the summer I was a big fan. I still have all the original LPs and all of the CD's are on my iPod. Great stuff. Thanks for the post.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Soundsurfr said...

I liked them until they got weird.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Ah, how can we ever get enough Beatles, eh? Good, bad or indifferent.

I admire them for their restlessness and energy and intellectual curiousity. I admire them for their friendship. To this day I'd give anything to be in a band that actually hang out together. And for their depth. Very my-parent's- generation of them. All the travelling, all the reading, all that. Quitting touring at their commercial height was SO punk rock. Johnny Rotten didn't say anything in '76 that Lennon hadn't said in '69.

Let's see if I can maintain my concentration for this:

Favorite Beatle: Paul McCartney (bum rap)
Favorite Side: Help! Side 1
Favorite Album: Help! (It's just so *elegant*)
Second Favorite Album: Rubber Soul
Not My Favorite Like Everyone Else's On The Internet But Still Love It: Revolver.

Favorite Paul Songs:

Paperback Writer
Getting Better
Another Girl
Can't Buy Me Love
Lady Madonna
We Can Work It Out (Paul actually comes in on th' *and* of one.)
Hey Jude
Penny Lane
Things We Said Today
Fixing A Hole
She's Leaving Home
The Night Before

Favorite John songs:

I Feel Fine
If I Fell
I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Please Please Me
Ticket To Ride
A Day In The Life
Strawberry Fields
Everybodys Got Something To Hide
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
All I've Got To Do
Across The Universe
Norwegian Wood
You Can't Do That

Favorite George Songs:

I Need You
Don't Bother Me
Something
The Inner Light
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Taxman (even if it is one of the Top 50 Conservative Songs Of All Time etc.)
If I Needed Someone

Favorite Cover Song:

The Honeymoon Song (From Beatles At The BBC: My unofficial favorite album). Fucking beautiful.

Official song: Mr. Moonlight

Favorite Song That Never Gets Airplay:

All I've Gotta Do

Favorite Lyric:

I'll Cry Instead

The One Song That Defines Who They Were:

All You Need Is Love (yeah, cliche)

Billy Preston: Yeah. I like it better than "Don't Let Me Down" though.

Paul on "Oh, Darling"- I love it as a technician, not an esthetician. They would have had to drop it a second or third for John to hit the notes. But it did go on to define a decade of AOR white boy histrionics.

"Here, There And Everywhere": Always reminds me of Maria Birch in third grade. Ouch.

Mr. Moonlight: Fantastic. Amazing vocal.

Worst thing they ever did: The not slowly killing Yoko thing is hard to forgive. And the stuff John said about George Martin. And John and Paul not doing the Saturday Night Live thing. And th' bitchfests in Melody Maker were a low point.

2:18 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Bobby,

Thanks for your input here - excellent perspective.

One thing - a bit pretentious on my part. "Side" in this context meant "record" or "recording" as opposed to "song." I will amend the post accordingly, because if you didn't get it no one will.

2:40 PM  
Blogger lonesomepolecat said...

i'm an oldguy, was 30 or so and mocking my nephews' beatle boots and bowl haircuts, nothing got my attention until sgt pepper. i've been idly wondering what band will be yr generation's Lawrence Welk. HOPING it won't be Beatles, of course. any nominations?

10:44 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

i've been idly wondering what band will be yr generation's Lawrence Welk. HOPING it won't be Beatles, of course. any nominations?

Sorry to say it, because I love their pre-80's music, but I think The Stones are already a lock.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Though I've been listening to the Beatles for as long as I can remember and like their stuff, I realize - especially in the present company - that I don't qualify as a fan.

Very interesting, Al and Bobby.

Al, I take issue with your assessment of the sublime "Here, There and Everywhere."

BTW, I know the term "side" as used (I believe) originally by jazz fans back in the days of 78s when a tune was a side because one equalled the other, but I too assumed you meant album side.

12:12 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Al, I take issue with your assessment of the sublime "Here, There and Everywhere."

Which only strenghtens its category:

Crazy opinions that piss off other Beatle fans sometimes

12:40 PM  
Blogger roxtar said...

I'll expand on this later, but the thing that strikes me most is that the Beatles didn't have the Beatles, either!

3:27 PM  
Blogger Employee of the Month said...

I knew I was going to marry my wife when we giggled together watching The Rutles.

"As for me and my house, we shall dig the Beatles."

4:04 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

the Beatles didn't have the Beatles, either!

Yes - please expand on this later - I can't wait to read it.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Devil's Rancher said...

I am fully passing the beatles on to three wondeful children. Defining moment of my life: Recieving HELP! for my 6th bithday. Perhaps THE defining moment of my life.

I agree with you on Oh, Darling, but you know Paul was really trying to PROVE that he could sing rock better than Lennon on that track. His attitude ruins it, really, because the whole track stands as a grim reminder of just how competitive & acrimopnious their relationship had gotten by that time.

Here's one category you need to add: Best McCartney bass line: Something. Absolutely majical. A continued source of inspiration toward excellence for me every day.

9:38 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Here's one category you need to add: Best McCartney bass line: Something. Absolutely majical. A continued source of inspiration toward excellence for me every day.

Funny that you mention that. I didn't include that category because I could make a good case for virtually every bass part he's played as a winner. Certainly your choice belongs at the top of the list, but I could add "Tell Me Why," "Rain," "Getting Better," "Savoy Truffle," "I Want You," "Paperback Writer," "Come Together," "Dear Prudence," "Hello Goodbye," and on and on.

11:40 AM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

If she had said, “The Beatles? I can’t believe you like them. I like Journey” it would have been over in that one second.

What if she'd said she liked Air Supply?

12:01 PM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Air Supply.

Weren't they popular back when Coolidge was president?

1:23 PM  

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